Wesley Nurse Leads Summer Meltdown Challenge in Mason: A focus on fitness and relationships

By Ann Scarth, Wesley Nurse, First United Methodist Church, Mason

The Summer Meltdown Challenge is underway in Mason, Texas and it seems to be catching on fast. Churches and area organizations have teamed up with instructors from various fitness genres to offer a variety of free exercise classes in locations across this small city of around two thousand people. From tai chi to Zumba, there is a class for every taste and fitness level. Participants are encouraged to track their time exercising using logs provided for the challenge, which are validated by instructors at the completion of each class. The tracking logs will be tallied at the end of the challenge and the top three participants who logged the most hours will win health and wellness prizes. The Summer Meltdown Challenge runs from June 11 to August 15 and will end with a covered dish event to celebrate the successful completion for all participants.

The challenge helps the citizens of Mason to develop a habit of pursuing exercise as a means of improving and/or maintaining optimal health, while fostering relationships with community members. In fact, the challenge was intentionally scheduled during the summer so school district employees would have the opportunity to participate if they wished to do so.

I feel a close connection to community events such as this. Exercise not only improves physical health, but improves mental wellbeing too. Exercise classes offer a psychosocial benefit in that they provide socialization, especially for those who travel into Mason from remote ranches or nearby smaller communities that lack such programs and opportunities to network with people who share their same interests. Similarly, this aligns with MHM’s holistic approach to health—mind, body and spirit.

As long as people are moving, they are actively taking steps toward a better life. Since this challenge began, participants reported feeling a difference in their health and feel a stronger connection to their community. Others, who had drifted out of class, have now returned with a renewed zeal for fitness and commitment to their health.

What inspires me most about being part of this endeavor is the fun that everyone is experiencing—myself included! I believe in exercise and a healthy diet, but strong relationships are also important. We are created for relationships. It’s one of those trickle-down things in life. If meaningful relationships exist, there is more meaning to all the other aspects of life. If someone comes to an exercise class, he or she may not make a lot of changes in looks (we are still going to have gray hair, a few wrinkles, etc.) but we will gain a whole cheering section to share in the victories and challenges in class and in life.

Read the original article featured in the Mason County News here.